UK Government Plans to Spend on Faster Broadband Speed

May 10, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings (5 minutes)
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. broadband (adj.) 
[brawd-band] – relating to a communications network that allows a lot of messages and data to be sent at the same time
Example: We can quickly download large files using a broadband connection.

2. connectivity (n.)  [kon-ek-tiv-i-tee, kuh-nek‐] – the ability to keep connections in a telecommunications system
Example: He cannot use the Internet because of bad connectivity in their area.

3. shortchange (v.) [shawrt-cheynj] – to give less than what should be given
Example: The store shortchanges its customers by selling products with poor quality.

4. parallel (adj.) [par-uh-lel, -luhl] – similar or comparable to something
Example: Laptops and personal computers have parallel structures.

5. invest (v.) [in-vest] – to spend (something) for a future advantage or benefit
Example: He is saving money to invest in a top quality computer.

Read the text below.

According to UK finance minister George Osborne, the UK government will use £50 million for the improvement of broadband speed around smaller cities in the country.

The scheme is part of the government’s goal to improve the UK’s broadband connectivity. Aside from the £50 million for smaller cities, another £100 million will be shared by 10 larger cities, including London, for the improvement of Wi-Fi and Internet connectivity.

Osborne said that the UK had the slowest broadband speed in Europe two years ago. In addition, a report from the Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) Council showed that the UK was still absent from the ranking of countries with the fastest internet connection This list is currently topped by the United Arab Emirates and Japan.

But with the government’s plan, fast broadband speed will be delivered to almost 90% of the UK population by 2015.

However, Morag Lucey of networking company Convergys says the funds are not enough, and the small budget only shortchanges the British economy and society.

According to a study conducted by Convergys with the London School of Economics, a £1.1 billion budget is needed for the UK to reach broadband quality parallel to the rest of Europe and the world.

Lucey believes that it is better to invest £1.1 billion to improve broadband systems and equipment. Although it may seem like a huge amount of money, it is still cheaper than the funds for other government plans. She also says that with superfast connectivity, UK businesses will easily gain back the government’s investment.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Should governments invest in faster and better connectivity? Why or why not?
·         How is a country’s progress affected by poor Internet, Wi-Fi and mobile connection?

Discussion B

·         How does fast broadband connection benefit you?
·         What do you think people’s lives would be like without access to Internet, mobile phones or other fast ways of communication? 


May 10, 2012